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Esszone MCO applies to eastern Sabah waters, not mainland: Esscom
Published on: Saturday, December 09, 2023
By: Bernama
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Esszone MCO applies to eastern Sabah waters, not mainland: Esscom
ESSCom commander Datuk Victor Sanjos said this needs to be clarified due to confusion among outsiders and foreign tourists, who mistakenly thought the MCO applied to the mainland as well. — Bernama pic
SEMPORNA: The Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESSZone) movement control order (MCO), formerly known as curfew, applies to the state’s waters and not the mainland, said Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) commander Datuk Victor Sanjos.

He said this needs to be clarified due to confusion among outsiders and foreign tourists, who mistakenly thought the MCO applied to the mainland as well.

“I take this opportunity to rectify outsiders’ perceptions regarding the implementation of the ESSZone MCO enforced by the police (PDRM), the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA, and the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF).

“It takes effect in waters beyond three nautical miles or leading to international boundaries from 6pm to 6am,” he told a press conference last night.

In urging Malaysians, particularly in Sabah to assist ESSCom and PDRM in clarifying the confusion, he said this collective effort was to boost the foreign investment sector and tourism industry in the ESSZone, thereby helping to improve the local community’s economy.

In a media statement issued last October, the Inspector-General of Police announced the expiry of the Sabah Curfew on Oct 17 at 6 pm and this was extended as the Sabah ESSZone MCO by the Home Minister under Section 31(4) of the Police Act 1967.

The ESSZone curfew implemented from July 19, 2014, until its conclusion in the 220th series on October 17 this year, served as a monitoring and control mechanism. Enforced by security forces, namely the police, MMEA and MAF, it regulated the movement of boats or ships used by local residents, sailors, tourists, and the maritime community in Sabah waters, in accordance with the Police Act 1967.

On the ESSZone MCO, Victor highlighted its positive impact on enhancing the effectiveness of coordinated security operations and encouraging foreigners’ visits to the tourist destinations in the ESSZone.

He commended the collaborative efforts of the police, MMEA, and MAF in the ESSZone in achieving an impressive record of zero kidnapping incidents since January 15, 2020.

“Between 2000 and 2020, there were 25 kidnapping cases in the ESSZone. However, the trend has shifted since ESSCom initiated Operation SANGGAH and various special operations in collaboration with security forces in the ESSZone.

“As a result of these continuous efforts, we destroyed the cells of the Abu Sayyaf group (ASG) and the kidnapping for ransom group (KFRG), resulting in 17 individuals shot dead and 23 more arrested,” he said adding that 16 cases of attempted kidnapping have been thwarted in the past 10 years.

As of November 23, he said ESSCom has coordinated over 2.2 million physical checks on individuals, vehicles, and boats, resulting in the arrest of 512 individuals for various offences, and seizure of 150 vehicles and boats.

Regarding smuggling cases, he said the total value of seizures for the same period exceeded RM17.5 million, with the highest value attributed to the smuggling of cigarettes and controlled goods, amounting to RM14.3 million. 

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